The E4 Path offers lots of walking holiday opportunities on the Greek Island of Crete from gentle walks to very challenging hiking routes.
For those who like hiking, trekking, biking and walking and are up for a challenge then maybe the E4 European Long Distance Path, or at least part of it, will be right for you. If you want to hike the whole E4 trail allow yourself 3 - 4 weeks.
Although we've not walked the whole distance of the E4 Path in Crete, we have completed sections of it.
The E4 European Long Distance Path begins in Spain and continues through France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece (including the length of Crete) and ends in Cyprus.
The whole E4 path is over 10,000 km long and was developed by the European Ramblers Association (ERA), which covers 55 rambler’s associations across Europe and was founded in 1969.
In Crete and throughout Greece the E4 path was founded and is maintained by the Hellenic Federation of Mountaineering and Climbing.
There is one large trekking or hiking route on the Greek Island of Crete, which is part of the E4 European Long Distance Path. The E4 trail covers the White Mountains (Lefki Ori), Mount Psiloritis (Mount Ida) and the Mount Dikti. The E4 Path is 320 km long.
It begins at Kastelli Kissamos in the west of Crete and crosses along the whole Island reaching Kato Zakros in the east where it ends. In Crete the E4 path is signposted by yellow markers and yellow and black arrows.
You will need a good map of Crete if you want to take on walking the E4 European Path in Crete. You will also need to note that in Crete and the whole of Greece you may be a little confused by some of the different spellings of the village, town and place names you may come across on maps or road signs.
For example, for the capital of Crete, Heraklion, you may see it as Heraklio, Irakleion, Iraklion or Iraklio.
Chania, the former capital, can be spelt as Hania or sometimes Xania.
Quite regularly you’ll find the letter ‘G’ as an alternative to the letter ‘Y’ as in Agios Nikolaos or Ayios Nikolaos. Sometimes added to this is the letter 'H' making it Aghios Nikolaos! And very commonly words with one ‘S’ can be seen with two, as in Lasithi or Lassithi.It is best to ask the locals if you are unsure.
The E4 Path route is quite varied and can range from what amounts to simple walking on smooth asphalt roads to some hefty hiking in rugged gorges, right up to some real mountain trekking.
In parts the E4 trail is very overgrown, difficult to follow, and often not marked at all.
At Sougia, a small resort on the south coast, the E4 Path forks into two tracks, one along the coast, which is very rough, and one through the mountains. The tracks converge on the south coast near Frangokastello, but immediately branch out again into two sections.
The following table contains a list of the different sections of the E4 European Long Distance Path in Crete.
|Kissamos||Sfinari||22k||10k on roads|
|Sfinari||Chrissoskalitissa||32k||All on roads|
|Chrissoskalitissa||Paleochora||14½k||All on roads|
|Sougia||Agia Roumeli||20k||Rough hiking paths|
|Agia Roumeli||Loutro||1 3k||Hiking paths|
|Loutro||Frangokastello||19½k||13k on roads|
|Sougia||Omalos||24½k||Two branches, one through Agia Irini, one through Livardes|
|Omalos||Katzivelli||18k||Marked mountain paths|
|Askifou||Frangokastello||19k||Via the Imbros Gorge|
|Frangokastello||Kato Rodakino||14k||Mainly on roads|
|Kato Rodakino||Agios Konstantinos||20½k||Mainly hiking paths|
|Agios Konstantinos||Armeni||15k||Hiking paths close to roads|
|Armeni||Arkadi||29k||Field roads and tracks|
|Arkadi||Garazo||32k||Mix of roads and paths|
|Garazo||Anogia||16k||Half on roads|
|Anogia||Nida Plateau||22k||Half on roads|
|Nida Plateau||Ano Zaros||25k||Second half on roads|
|Nida Plateau (alternative)||Ano Zaros||19k||Sparsely marked footpaths|
|Ano Zaros||Ano Asites||21½k||Elevation gain(>1000m)|
|Ano Asites||Ano Archanes||9k||Mainly footpaths|
|Ano Archanes||Kastelli||28½k||Last section on roads|
|Kastelli||Agios Georgios||20½k||First section on roads|
|Agios Georgios||Alm Selakano||17k||Mountain paths through the Dikti range|
|Alm Selakano||Prina||18k||Dirt roads|
|Ghryssopigi||Ziros||17k||Last section on roads|
Hikers and trekkers embarking upon the E4 trail need to think about pre-planning their accommodation. This applies in particular to the alpine leg of the E4 Path, when any proposed stay at a mountain refuge hut needs to be prearranged.
The mountaineering clubs of Chania, Rethymnon, Heraklion and Lassithi maintain the following huts:
|Kallergi|| Near the
|Katsiveli Svourihtis||Svourihtis foothills||Chania||1970|
|Tavri||Plateau of Askyfou||Chania||1200|
|Toumbotos Prinos||Mount Psiloritis||Rethymnon||1551|
|Analipsis||Near the Ideon Cave||Iraklion||1420|
|Prinos||Asites, East Psiloritis||Iraklion||1100|
Here's some useful contact details:
The Mountaineering Club of Lasithi
The Mountaineering Club of Chania
The Mountaineering Club of Rethymno
The Mountaineering Club of Heraklion
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